the term jealousy, which is therein affirmed 'to be the foundation of a free government,' is stigmatized in the report, 'as the meanest passion of narrow minds,' and a suggestion in our opinion ungenerous, is warmed in immediately afterwards, the intention of which, without entering deeply into the spirit of innuendoes, cannot be well misunderstood.
Whether jealousy, in a political sense, be a virtue or a vice, depends, we conceive, on the object by which it is produced, and the extent to which it is carried. As a proof of this, we will once more quote an admonition of our illustrious Washington, in his farewell address to his fellow-citizens. 'Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (says he) I conjure you to believe me fellow-citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought constantly to be awake.'
But from this part of the report we were compelled to dissent for another reason, still more cogent, for by our consent, we should have acknowledged that the great body of our general constituents, had justly incurred the obloquy of possessing 'the meanest passion of narrow minds.' In a late address of thanks to his Excellency the Governor, to which this House unanimously concurred, we say, 'That our constituents entertain too high a sense, are too jealous of their own rights, ever to infringe wantonly, or intentionally, on those of any friendly nation.' From which it follows, that either this House entertained a most ignominious and disrespectful opinion of their constituents—that what is virtuous in them, is vicious in the Legislature of Kentucky—or that the explanation of the term jealous, in the report to which we have given our dissent, as applied to the subject of the Kentucky resolutions is altogether erroneous, ungenerous, and unfounded. The last of which three propositions, is the only one of them to which we could or can give our assent.
And lastly, we assign as a principal reason of our dissent, because we believe that the most pressing of our social duties, as citizens of the union, is to guard with a watchful scrupulosity, against the smallest breech of our federal constitution, to which we look up with admiration, with pleasure and respect, as the great and impregnable bulwark of [if] properly defended, of our political salvation.—(Journal of the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, October, 1799, pp. 148–152).